Shooting Style (In Action)

A few weeks ago I asked you for some tips on my shooting style for weddings, and I’d like to do better at following up on things when I ask for advice, so I thought I’d show you a picture of what I wore to my last wedding.

I tried getting a new belt to see if it would help jazz up the dress a bit, but I think I’m going to have to give up on this dress (so sad because I had someone sew a pocket into it and dresses with sleeves that reach the knee and have pockets are really hard to find!) because I’d like to get something dressier. I shall keep searching for the perfect black dressy modest wedding shooting dress with pocket(s)!

My second shooter did a great job taking pictures of not only the action, but of me capturing the action. I thought you might like to see some of them. I look ridiculous in some of them because I’ve got a laser beam focus on trying to get the best shot possible, so please don’t laugh.

I think I spot the bride and groom coming around the corner! I’m like a cheetah honing in on its prey.

The resulting shot.

Can you see me in the far right corner of this photograph?

Here is what I was taking pictures of. Somehow I didn’t end up eating any of this wedding cake, something which I’m still very sad about.

As we were heading down the elevators two of the bridesmaids stopped for some hair retouching.

My perspective.

The ceremony is over and everyone is clapping and smiling. Everyone except me of course, no time for clapping and smiling when you have pictures to take.

Boom, the newly married couple.

I’m not taking pictures here, obviously. I try not to bug my brides throughout the day, I don’t want their only memory of me to be that I was intrusive and annoying, but I did talk to this bride a little bit more than normal because we are close friends. I also try to step in and lend my know-how when I think it might be helpful, like in this instance when we were talking over whether we needed to do any more formals (the site coordinator for some reason was saying we needed to, I didn’t think it was necessary and it wasn’t really what the bride desired).

Mother/son dance time. Oh my, and my breasts look a bit saggy don’t they? Can you see the cute polka dot lining of my pocket peeking out of my dress though?

My photo from this moment.

At the end of the night I try to make sure I’m RIGHT THERE in the action. I want to get every last smile/tear/wave/fist pump!

My gorgeous friend about to sail off into the night with her new husband (or maybe rev loudly into the night in his sexy Charger would be a better description :) ).

Now that you’ve seen my dress in action if you have any additional tips I’d love to hear them! I went through all of your suggestions on my last post and revised my Pinterest board if you’d like to check it out.

32 thoughts on “Shooting Style (In Action)

  1. Please don’t be offended, but I’m not crazy about that outfit. Here’s what I didn’t like and what I think:

    - The dress looks worn and faded. I’d stray from a 100% cotton dress (which that one looks like) because they fade after many uses. It may also look faded because you’re wearing a black undershirt that isn’t the exact black shade. Maybe a dark green color would make the dress look better yet keep your dark theme?
    - Never looked at you pinterest board before, but I love the black shabby apple dress! Much dressier and would achieve the classier look your going for.
    - Not crazy about the body bug. If you’re going for classy, I’d lose it because it will detract from the sleekness of any outfit. I know you’re trying to track caloried burned and such, but you burn so much on weddings anyway I don’t think it would hurt if you didn’t have it. Also I think it looks dumb when skinny girls wear one and you’re getting into the skinny category!
    - Too much black in that one: black dress, black undershirt, black belt. I think picking a dark yet subtle, nonblack undershirt and a tasteful printed belt would make the look much better, but not attract attention to you (which I know you’re trying to avoid at a wedding).
    - Use tights! Regardless of the length of the dress, I think the tights add a lot to the outfit. You also won’t have to worry about accidentally flashing anyting.

    I’m not really fashionable, so don’t mind me, but I hope this helps!

    Sarah for Real Reply:

    I think your suggestion for a dark colored tank is spot on. I do like the black-on-black, I think it’s very chic and acceptable. But I think if Jenna is looking for a little more personality, which is what it sounds like, that a dark colored tank would be a good option.

    I didn’t like the second dress on your pinterest with the scoop neck so much. I think it would need a lot of accessorizing to avoid looking dowdy. I like the others much better since they have a bit more interesting parts too them and you don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of necklaces/scarfs and stuff getting in your way.

  2. I think it’s always interesting to see photographers as they work (via pictures)- it’s always something I love watching. You can see how passionate you are and how much you want to give your customers what they want. Which is really great.

    Honestly, when I think back on our wedding photographer I don’t even remember what she wore (probably because it blended in). I think I would have remembered if it was a skin tight red dress but she was casual.

    Here is my tip:

    Maybe you can incorporate some of the bride’s wedding color choices into your outfit? Seems like purple was the case in this wedding. You could have done purple jewelry or a purple belt. Something that lets people know you’re not part of the wedding party, but you still want to be a part of the bride’s over all theme.

    I know this may be expensive but you can always build up this kind of concept. Maybe purchase a few accessories in some of the more popular wedding colors (pink, blue, yellow, purple, green, red). And build from there. That way when you find out the bride is having a pink and green wedding, you have a belt or ear rings already in your wardrobe to put on.

    Just an idea.

  3. I think the outfit looks nice. If it wouldn’t bring too much attention, I’d probably wear a different colored undershirt, just because I think the black on black can make your dress look faded out. I like the shoes and the tights, but I wouldn’t go with anything more textured or funky than those tights. I’m not crazy about the body bug, but if it is that important to you to keep wearing it during shoots, I doubt many people from the wedding will really remember it.

  4. I think you look fine! Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I honestly don’t think you should stress out too much about what to wear. My guess is that you don’t want to be noticed for your dress — either in a bad OR good way (because, as you mentioned, they shouldn’t be thinking about you on their day). My photographers wore black pants and black buttoned up shirts. I think the all black is nice and other than that – who cares?

  5. I don’t have much of an opinion on the outfit, but I LOVE the contrast of the photograph of you and then the photograph you were taking. Excellent!

    phruphru Reply:

    I agree. It is so cool to see the results of the cheetah-like stalking of the wedding party :)

    I think your outfit is just fine as is. You’re not there to be the star of the show; you’re there to blend in. If you want to upgrade the dress, I love the ruffled one. But otherwise, don’t stress too much. I do also agree with some of the other folks who’ve commented that you should ditch the Bodybugg. It’s just a little too distracting when you should be, like I said, blending in.

    I think the female photographer at my wedding wore black pants and a dressy silvery/black top. At other weddings, the female photographers I see wear black pants also. Only once have I really noticed a photographer’s outfit at a wedding and it was at my husband’s cousin’s big shindig. The second shooter, who was absolutely lovely (we chatted for a little while), was wearing a zip-up hoodie and cargo pants. Yeah… that ain’t appropriate attire, honey.

  6. That was neat to see, mainly just how two different photographers at two different angles captured the same moment in such different pictures!

  7. I actually really like your outfit. I think you are appropriate, but not conspicuous. And can I just say that your photos are gorgeous?? I’d hire you for my wedding any day! (except I’m already married..) :)

  8. I had to laugh a little (with you, though)! It’s cool to see how hard you work to get such great pictures for your clients.

    As for the clothes, I think you look nice. I agree with Sage who said the all-cotton dress is probably not the ideal choice just because of fading, wrinkling, and it tends to be a more casual fabric. On your pinterest, I like the eshakti dress without the ruffle (I think the ruffle makes it look trendier and cheaper) and it’s polyester which could be good. I also really like the plum colored dress. I think that’s a great professional looking color. Maybe you could order it to return if the fabric is cheap feeling/looking. I think you should be careful with the belts. I think belts can easily look like a cheap and trendy add on if they aren’t well made or have too much going on. They also can look great and add a little interest to your outfit so I would just be really discerning. All this advice, though, is geared to my assumption that you’d like a classic look.

    Another suggestion that I think will work better as you get slimmer is a wide leg dress pant with a high-ish (widest part of your hips) waist and a tucked in top. This would also work with a skirt which can be easier to find with pockets. Choosing the top separately gives you more control over sleeve length and width (since your moving a lot). Tucking in accentuates your waist and makes everything look less casual.

  9. I’ve got to agree with the above comments – go for some color girl! And dont be afraid of pants! You look so great now from all your hard work and this dress is just a bit blah for all of your work! I know – you aren’t trying to steal the show, but it doesn’t mean you can wear something that flatters you. For most versatile (and work-able!) looks, I’d think along the lines of Ann Taylor. Always classic, elegant, and with a few staple pieces you can customize the small things for your mood or season without needing a whole new outfit.

    Also – I gotta agree about the body bugg. So proud of all your work (and holy cow it has paid off!!), but the body bugg really does look a bit unprofessional. If you really want to wear it, toss on a cardigan that’ll hide it.

    LOVE the images captured!

  10. I was in a wedding last fall, and tried on a bunch of knee-length bridesmaid dresses from David’s Bridal. They have a lot of comfy options now that can be dressed up for weddings or dressed down to be more casual… and the great things… many of them have pockets! The one that I wore had pockets and it was amazing! The only bad thing, they don’t have sleeves, which I know is a must for you, but maybe if you liked them they could be paired with a cardigan? They are a really cool (temperature-wise) fabric and are so versatile! This is the one I wore, and I’ve worn it several times since!

  11. Try this online store:

    You can find lots of cute things there, and they allow you to send in your measurements and requests for a custom fit for just $7 more. That way you could request sleeves and the right length.

  12. I’m not totally sure if these dresses have pockets, but what about one of these dresses from Modcloth?

    Or these from Nordstrom?

    I have no idea if any of these fit your style, but it was an excellent distraction from my work day to search for a few knee-length black dresses with sleeves, so thanks. :) Hope you don’t mind! I think you look good in the shooting outfit above, but also think you could go dressier. Although I must admit I have never, ever noticed what a photographer was wearing at a wedding unless it was totally distracting, so I don’t think you should worry too much!

  13. I can’t remember if I’ve ever read before if you’d want to wear pants…I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as you look ‘dressy’ enough (but with COMFY stylish shoes of course!) However, your dress is great – like others have said, if you are looking for a change, perhaps a different colored tank underneath – that would be just a subtle change.

    Our wedding photographer wore a black blouse and a black/goldish print skirt and low heels. Not at all flashy, I thought she looked nice. Have you considered a blouse/skirt combo? You could change up the looks a little bit and I’d imagine that it might be easier to shoot in sometimes. But what do I know? I’ve certainly never done anything of your scale before!

    Love the action poses by your second shooter. Love that gazelle like intensity – - I’m sure that’s how I look when I’m hunting down my next shot!

  14. These pictures are so awesome because it really shows what you do from a great perspective. I love that you get right in there. I think a lot of people are usually to afraid to look ridiculous (whether it’s taking fun pictures or “professionals”) and they miss they best kind of shots. I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions for things you could wear, but I really loved that you have evidence of what you do during a job.

  15. I didn’t have time to read the other comments, so I’m sorry if I’m repeating someone, but I thought I’d at least chime in and tell you what *I* wear!
    I used to go the all-black route, and I just got sick of it. We’re shooting weddings, not funerals! I wanted to look sleek and professional, but not like wait staff. Mack and I aim to always blend in with the guests, so we add color.
    This season, for our dressier weddings, I have a camel colored skirt suit from NY&Co. I wear the skirt (knee length with a kick pleat) and the vest, with a white short sleeved button down underneath. Cute, comfy, and COOL.
    We had a less formal wedding this past weekend. I wore a bright purple pencil skirt with that same white button down shirt tucked in, and a fat black patent belt.
    Also in my arsenal, I have a gray tweedish sleeveless dress (won’t work for you, I know) that I pair with a bright belt, and my standard black suit for formal weddings in the winter. I try to wear skirts with bright cardigans whenever I can… it’s a look that nips me in at the waist, so I feel good, but it’s also easy to work in.
    Kudos to you for posting the pictures of you working! Mack and I always try to get pictures of each other “in action”, and I keep a folder of them for nostalgia. They’re fun!

  16. I know nothing on this subject but I think you should try out the pants idea just to see how you would like it. I think it would be comfortable and yet you would be able to get all the shots you want without worrying about flashing anyone!

    and I am going to have to second all of the body bugg comments. you needed to cover it with a cardigan or just taken it off altogether.

  17. Jenna! I just wanted to say you are SO talented! Love this alternate perspective post.

  18. I think a dark color (but not black) tank under the dress would be way better- maybe an olive green, cranberry, or eggplant? Also, you could always play with different patterned/textured tights.

    I agree with the others on the bodybugg thing. It doesn’t look very professional (to me, at least), and it was the first thing I noticed in each of the pictures. This might sound like a stupid question, but I’ll ask anyways: could you strap it to your leg or somehow conceal it? I know you’re very focused on weight loss goals, and I think that’s absolutely FANTASTIC, it just seems like when you’re dressed up, it looks out of place.

    That all being said, I think you’re looking fantastic, and I think it’s awesome (and brave) that you’re opening yourself up to suggestions on how to better yourself/your style (I know that can be scary!)

  19. This is such a great post! I love seeing the image of you and then the shot you got. It makes me really wish I could get someone to take some action shots of me while I was doing doula work.

    The first one of you is hilarious, too. I mean that in the best way. You are obviously very focused on doing the best job possible.

    I like this outfit a lot, actually, and I love shoes and tights, but I can see wanting something a bit nicer.

  20. How about a jersey dress, maybe a wrap style with a cami/tank underneath for modesty? I find jersey dresses so comfortable, and you can wear spanks underneath so everything is smooth.

    Just curious-how many calories do you burn when you shoot a wedding? I’m assuming more than normal-seems like quite the workout!

  21. I love your description of ‘Cheetah’. I’m exactly the same.

    I really think that an all-cotton choice is not ideal. They often look faded and they wrinkle really easily – I think a jersey dress would be a really great option for you as an a-line one would fit your modesty requirements and would be super comfortable. If I am honest, I also don’t think the dress is particularly flattering on you and you are looking so great! I think it is to do with needing to have the buttons open to accommodated your bust – this very rarely looks good and is another reason I think jersey pieces are a good idea.

    I wear a mix of things. Last weekend I wore a black, red and pink floral dress with a cream cardigan and black ballet flats. I was very close friends with the bride and she wanted me to dress like a guest. I actually really enjoyed it and think I will dress a bit more ‘fun’ in future. I always dressed for comfort over style and I don’t think that’s always an ideal choice and is not who I am day-to-day anyway. I often feel like I end up looking daggy when shooting and that’s not really something I want to project to potential clients. I need to go through my wardrobe and see what items are shoot-appropriate and build some cute outfits!

  22. Oh, another thing worth trying:

    There are two labels in Australia called CUE and Veronika Maine. They do a lot of modest pieces (a Jewish family owns it and they’re a popular choice with religious Jewish women here) that are quite 50s style. They’re also really big on the Australian fashion scene in general so you’re not looking at ‘daggy’ modest. The best part? Their skirts and dresses very often have pockets. The quality is second-to-none as it is produced in Australia, and it might be worth you checking eBay for some pieces. If you decide to, and need sizing help, just shoot me an email :)

  23. I guess it depends on the wedding, but I always thought it was some kind of faux pas to wear black to a wedding. But maybe that doesn’t apply to people “working” the wedding. The dress seems a little informal, and it seems like a nice pair of pants might be more appropriate for all of the moving around you have to do for you job.

  24. First off, I love you writing about photography here again. It’s how I got to know you but since you are a mom now too, this has decreased. So I am loving it. I am also loving your openness and thus vulnerability. And I think you look great in this dress. I think it is dressy enough actually. You can tell you spend time and effort on wearing appropriately for a wedding. And your boobs, I would not have noticed if you hadn’t told me, again I think you look great. But my overall opinion when you show clothes is: loose the belt and things around your waist. It only accentuates your waist line and it is my opinion you look better without it. But oh well for opinions. God bless your heart!

  25. Great photos, Jenna! I would be one ecstatic bride if you delivered those photos to me. Also, I think your outfit is appropriate and still unique.

  26. First of all, I think your outfit is really cute and you look great (the weight loss is really showing!!) AND the photos you took are beautiful!!!

  27. I think the dress is adorable. I agree cotton might not be the best choice though. Mainly, I think you need to lose the body bugg. It looks like a mourning band, lady! Surely wearing it for a couple hours is not more important than the wedding- it just doesn’t look professional. At least get one that’s not black.

    Paige Reply:

    And maybe less dressy earrings.

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